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* Posts by Ledswinger

2472 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers

Ledswinger
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Re: Failed sla ...

"which will result in a full explanation to the FSA."

Following the musical chairs the took the FSA away and made the FCA, I'd wager there's little continuity in enforcement.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Resolved? I think not.

"Having worked for several old and new, I'd have to say DO NOT TOUCH a new entrant."

Each to their own, But I work in a very large customer facing business. We have a strong track record, documented processes, oodles of resource, all of which make our service worse than new entrants and systems less reliable because the new entrants aren't weighed down by vast crappy legacy systems, and hidebound by years of "doing it this way", or a business model built on millking retained customers.

And in the case of RBS, have you noticed how the IT failures often seem to be ancient legacy code or processes that they no longer know how to operate or support? I have no illusions that new entrants, mutuals, or any other player could have their own IT disaster, but I wouldn't personally equate "new" with "worse".

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Ledswinger
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Re: while I understand the sentiment...

" So please, people, stop being hysterical, it's only Tuesday."

How about "no"?

It's two thousand and f***ing thirteen. Expecting one of the world's largest banks, backed by the entire largesse of the state, located in one of the most technically advanced nations on the planet to offer a reliable and continuous service is unreasonable is it?

In this rotten, festering POS bank there are about one hundred people paid over a million quid a year. And every year they are on the hook for something new - manipulating LIBOR, wilfully bankrupting business customers, mis-selling PPI for donkeys years, mis-selling interest rate swaps to SME's, misleading investors during the cash call before seeking a state rescue. And then there's the reason WHY the f***ers are owned by the state to be taken into account.

Face it: RBS & Natwest are useless. Has any other bank had repeated large scale screwups of customer service? Has any other bank been as routinely associated with incompetence, deviousness, dishonesty and fraud?

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Ledswinger
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"RBS is an extremely complex computing environment, probably more complex than most people commenting here can begin to comprehend."

And evidently more complex than many of the people working there can begin to comprehend, to judge by their history of IT out(r)ages.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Resolved? I think not.

" I am a little bit cynical that there is actually much difference."

I think that's a very fair comment. But is that reason enough to stick with poor service or unethical behaviour? If you don't switch then the incompetent or dishonest not only continue with their existing behaviours, but you continue to reward them for it. Better to take a chance, in my view.

If you look at the state of the energy market, you might easily conclude that the market failings are due to the fact that most customers can't be bothered to switch "because they are all the same", and because of the linked issue of British Gas' dominant market share.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Resolved? I think not.

"I transferred a large amount of money to my RBS account yesterday. It's now disappeared"

Then I suggest you (and all other RBS & Natwest customers) explore the new fast account switching service, ideally to a new banking market entrant or a mutual. Admittedly that doesn't avoid future IT related problems with your new provider, but it does stop rewarding the persistent failure of RBS (or endorsing their unethical behaviours by their "global restructuring group", pushing businesses over the brink to take control of the assets).

I left RBS in 2007 purely over the unethical behaviours that wiped out my then employer, andI've had no problems at all from Nationwide since then.

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Ledswinger
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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

Third idea: Cheap remote control aircraft. Just ram the drone, and accept the loss of the toy plane. Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision, like a reuseable airborne battering ram.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

"Think of it as a mini SPB project....First idea: Another drone."

This is an opportunity to let my inner redneck loose!

Second idea: AIrbust shot gun shells filled with aluminium pellets (lower density metal to reduce the lethality beyond the kill sphere, he suggests hopefully).

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Stuxnet 2 in the works, claims Iranian news agency

Ledswinger
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Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.

" Is the obvious perhaps too obvious ?"

Depends whether you believe they have a credible nuclear programme, and then believe they want to achieve nuclear armed status. As per my post above, the failure of Iran to produce a nuke is arguably more surprising than if they'd succeeeded.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Stuxnet 2? Far fetched?

"So Iran's claim of a new Stuxnet variant (Stuxnet 3) is not far-fetched at all"

I'm sure it isn't. And the article's claim that Israeli's wouldn't want to upset the Yanks, now THAT'S farsi-cal. The Israeli's regularly wag the US dog.

Having said that, the whole enrichment programme seems to me to be political theatre by Iran. The two nukes originally used in anger (and the test weapons) were developed using brown paper, string and bits of wood, long before IC controlled centrifuges. Likewise the huge nuclear arsenals built up by the Soviets and the US through the 1950s and early 1960s were designed and constructed without the aid of PCs or the internet. If the Iranians really wanted to create a big bang, they could have done it the old fashioned way in a third of the time that it has apparently taken them to not develop their own big stick, and without the risks from electronic surveillance, hacking or sabotage. The latest "rapprochement" between Iran and the West doesn't seem a real development, simply a fig leaf to cover up th fact that Iran have evidently made no progress on building a bomb, and to continue the myth that they might.

It's the same with conventional weapons - look at the comedy stealth fighter they displayed, when you don't even need any engineering training to spot that the thing probably couldn't even fly, certainly wouldn't have been capable of either supersonic speeds or weapons delivery, and would have been as stealthy as Coco the Clown. There's lots of clever Iranians, they'd know that nobody would be taken in by that, or by badly photoshopped missile launches, or unevidenced "Islamic monkeys in space" claims.

So what exactly is the game? Iran doesn't have the forces to pose a credible threat to anybody in the region, other than by sh!tstirring and destabilisation, which are not really different to the activities of anybody else active in the region. The most obvious thing is Iranian gas reserves, but what the tension plays to is keeping those out of the market - why would the Iranian regime wish for that to be the case? Presumably somebody is getting rich on the back of this, and if the Iranian peasantry need to be oppressed then that's just dandy.

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Solar enthusiasts rays idea of 'leccy farms on MOON, drones

Ledswinger
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Re: not rocket science

"I think you'll find that Desertec's plan used solar thermal, which is an efficient way to harvest all of the solar spectrum by heating a working fluid to high temperature and hence drive a pretty conventional steam turbine."

I know (my employers were a founder member of the consortium), my shorthand simply referred to the idea of solar energy capture in desert locations.

But to take issue with your comment, harvesting solar by thermal means may collect a greater proportion of the spectrum, but end to end it is not really that much better than PV - the cost, complexity and losses of solar thermal are big offsets, when pv is simply a "fit and clean" solution with minimal maintenance requirements.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Dark side of the Moon

"As ever, the hard part of this is the "beaming the power to Earth", which always seems to be accompanied by a lot of hand waving"

How about focused reflection of sunlight? OK, so this is getting a bit "ant & magnifying glass" for people, but rather than mess about with multiple conversion stages and energy beams, simply use mutiple reflectors to focus on solar power plants on the surface, concentrating to perhaps 5-50x normal sunlight intensity. Not so good for unlucky birds or careless flyboys, but harvesting the energy would be "relatively" straightforward (as in "nuclear power stations are relatively straighforward"). I'm sure that this must have cropped up in sci fi somewhere already, because it is obvious. And the idea of building a series of precisely controlled space mirrors seems closer to our capabilities now than the alternatives.

That "beam" could be multiply reflected to serve the dark side of the planet, could be split or consolidated into whatever made the most sense for the collection plant and power transmission networks. Concentrated sunlight would (?) burn through cloud or fog, and if correctly focused would have limited impact on stargazing romantics.

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Ledswinger
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"Governments are the only organizations that can absorb the massive losses in proving a concept, private money really isn't well suited to extremely expensive pilot programs."

Tell that to SpaceX and Elon Musk. Ooh, and go tell it to the private investors who bankrolled the invention and construction of most of the rail networks in the UK or US, or did the same for motor transport, or built the first decent roads in Britain after the Romans left (the turnpikes for anyone not paying attention), or developed aircraft in the face of governments blustering that these things were of no use. Obviously we don't remember all the things that didn't work, but I think you're wrong to believe that government is the best answer to funding, organising or delivering major R&D programmes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A solution in search of a problem

You're right, but there were even more problems that didn't get a mention - the short life of wind turbines, the harm to wildlife of such a close mix of habitat and bird & bat death machine, plus noise, weight and dynamic load even before vibrations. And then there's the high cost of property-specific installations, and the rubbish output. There was some amusing news recently about the Welsh Assembly installing a £48k wind turbine that churns out a stonking £5 or electricity each month.

There's some interesting stuff in this link for those still hoping that a small scale wind turbine might answer their prayers - a little dated, but the physics and the fundamentals haven't changed since:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6954

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Ledswinger
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Re: not rocket science

" So 60 square kilometres of PV cells could match the entire global electricity needs"

That's what the Desertec consortium reasoned, and reckoned they could build in North Africa to supply Germany. Unfortunately German energy policy is even more misguided and chaotic than our own (not by much, mind you), and the prospective energy company participants no longer have two pfennig to rub together, financial backers look at the energy policy death zone that exists across all of Europe and concluded that such schemes were not a safe investment, and the existing German plan of subsidising solar and wind in not-quite-so-sunny Germany met a fair chunk of demand that might have made Desertec viable, but in a less efficient manner.

The UK made a similar mistake to the Germans of supporting build out of immature, sub-optimal renewables, although in our case by promoting vast amounts of low output on shore wind, when (if you must have wind power) the answer if not "small, crappy, onshore" but "vast, efficient, offshore".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Store the energy @fpx

No. Volumetric and specific energy density of any known form of energy storage would make the aircraft too heavy. If you look at the existing solar powered "aircraft" you'll see that they struggle to stay airborne overnight, and that's with the craft made of string and paper. If the most energy you can bring back is sufficient to fly what is barely more than a glorified glider for a eight hours then this won't be supplanting even land based solar or wind ever.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A solution in search of a problem

"There are more than enough lower cost and easily implemented solutions right here on Earth. The first being solar on rooftops. The second being rooftop wind."

Solar isn't low cost in the UK, largely because the output is so dismal. Perhaps you confuse the subsidies and redistributive effects of policy with the underlying economics. And rooftop wind is a joke anywhere. Not only will the roof itself and adjacent buildings interfere with the local wind field, such devices will be far too close to the ground and suffer severe boundary effects and low wind speeds, being on land there will be strong diurnal variations....but even ignoring those the size of rooftop wind collectors will be pitiful. This could be why the cutting edge technology for wind turbines is 500 ft diameter rotors on 330 foot masts, located well offshore.

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Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

Ledswinger
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Re: are friends electric?

"An enforced landing is not the same as a crash landing"

Nor is it the same as a forced landing. These days enforced landings usually involve a couple of RAF Typhoons and an unplanned detour to a remote part of the tarmac at Stansted.

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Recommendations for private cloud software...

Ledswinger
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Data room

Reading the request, seems to me that you have similar requirements to those running transaction data rooms. The need to have a hosted solution to which people can load or access files of all sizes, have fully configurable user access under client control, with proper security and audit trail.

Have search on the terms data room provider or electronic data room. I've used Merrill Corporation services as a data room manager, and found the system was excellent, and not expensive for the service on offer (though you'll be paying a lot more than Dropbox for the capabilities you want). There's plenty of competition in the sector, so just make sure you're not paying over the odds just because many other customers come fromn the "money no object" banking sector.

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4G networks are BIG TIME SUCK for us videogame-obsessed Brits

Ledswinger
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"i plug my 3g phone into my PC and have been using web n walk for my only home connection on my for 7 years"

Lucky you. Most of the rest of us have to fork out for a landline, broadband and mobile because at home we can only get a signal from network A, and then only in the upstairs back room. Lazy f***ers at the mobile companies are so busy messing around making Kevin Bacon adverts that they've completely overlooked the real money making opportunity that exists if they actually had a 3G (HDSPA+) service that offered sufficient speed and coverage to allow the rest of us to abandon land lines altogether.

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ENISA wants mobes to wander freely between carriers in emergencies

Ledswinger
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Re: "prioritise voice and sms over data"

"If everytime there's network congestion or a failure the people needing our help most will the ones really suffering from denial of service"

During the London bombings, one or more of the networks were commandeered for emergency services use. Whilst that would be sensible from the point of view of supporting the emergency services, it does illustrate that their dedicated networks (that we also pay for) were/are unfit for purpose.

And in that case you've either got no coverage if all the networks are commandeered, or the proposed cascade of users from the commandeered network would saturate the other networks (assuming in a major emeregency they are already overloaded).

As far as I can see this proposal sounds far better than it is. In reality the bandwidth of the mobile networks isn't wide enough anyway in emergencies, so we're talking about either a specific tech failure by one network, or a fairly gentle sort of emergency.

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DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Ledswinger
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Re: Radio Silence in Cars ?

"Adding DAB at home is fairly easy - buy a set and plug it in."

Except that I don't fucking want to. DAB offers me nothing that FM can't do, in fact the quality of FM is usually better than DAB, and I've already got FM receivers.

The sooner knob end politicians stop trying to tell me what I want the better, and at least Ed Vaizey has had the sense to realise that DAB is a solution looking for a problem. If he really wants to separate himself from the herd of incompetents and thieves at Westminster, then he could simply admit that DAB isn't wanted by the majority and doesn't solve any problems. And then he could develop a close down strategy for DAB, instead of prolonging its zombie existence.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Tell you what. Mr. Vaizey...

"You have a shedload of work to do yet, don't you?"

No, he doesn't. There is no sensible question to which the answer is "DAB", except for the question "Which crummy technology do people not want, and should be put out of its misery soon?"

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UK parents to splurge £3 BEELLLIIIION on kids' tech gifts at Christmas

Ledswinger
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Re: Bah humbug

"but an excuse to spend, eat & drink too much"

Feast of the turnover, mate.

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Ledswinger
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"I just wondered, is his wife called Su?"

Probably. But he no longer uses the title of "count" after people started getting the wrong impression when he told them he'd dropped an "o".

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Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmm

" If the measurement is to be in fiscal terms then the cost of tobacco related disease and currency export has to be balanced with the value of tobacco tax to the treasury."

In which case, there's a few more things to take into account. My starting point is that in the UK we have insufficient housing that leads to high prices and speculative booms, we have overstretched public services that can't cope with demand, inadequate infrastructure & transport for the current rising population level, old buzzards who are living longer and longer putting increasing demands on the NHS despite no longer being part of the productive economy, and a welfare state struggling to cope with said old buzzards who (in aggregate) didn't save to provide for their old age and expect the state (that also didn't accrue) to pay for them. And even for the working age, there's insufficient jobs to go round.

Put that lot into the equation, and fags are a miracle cure for the economy, because their general impact is modest during most of the smoker's working life, the diseases tend to come on suddenly, have a very high mortality rate and often low treatability. So fewer unfunded pensions to pay, fewer winter fuel payments, fewer geriatric healthcare bills, a few more jobs for the younger people, reduced demand on services, infrastructure and housing. What's not to like?

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Microsoft, HURTING after NSA backdooring, vows to now harden its pipe

Ledswinger
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Re: Operationally, Snowden is a hero@ TopOnePercent

"When you have the heads of the 3 Brit intelligence agencies testifying publicly that Snowden has damaged their operational capability "

The same people who allowed the government to lie about Iraq's supposed WMD, the same people who didn't stop the London bombings, the same people busy doing a good chunk of the NSA's dirty work in Europe and the Middle East, the same people who maintain one of their own people zipped himself up in a holdall and then locked it, and then passed away of natural causes, whilst they didn't think to ask why he hadn't turned in for work for a week....

I'm British, I don't think the UK security services have covered themselves in glory. The UK government runs the same mass surveilllance as the NSA, damaging public confidence and privacy, yet unable to achieve much useful.

If you want, go find another reason to pillory Snowden, but don't rely on the handwringing of British bureaucrats to justify the US government's utter contempt for its own constitution. The critical point of defending liberty is that the liberty needs to be there to be defended, not trampled all over in the latest edition of "The War On Something" (tm).

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Samsung to spend ENTIRE budget of London 2012 OLYMPICS... on ADS

Ledswinger
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Re: To put it into perspective ...

Put another way, they are spending the equivalent of the entire gross domestic product of Jamaica (or Iceland) on adverts. Or the arms budget of Israel, or the UK foreign aid budget.

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Ledswinger
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"It's pretty obvious that their dull blank plastic products need to be pushed hard to get people to buy them."

Actually, the advertising is part of a cost problem that Samsing have but won't address. The S4 is (for most people) an attractive piece of kit, But Samsung aren't Apple, and the disappointing sales reflect the fact that the S4 is hugely overpriced in the market. Putting Samsung's costs up with a civilisation ending burst of advertising won't solve that, it'll make things worse. I'd say we're at the boundary of the late Samsungian, and moving into the Googgilian, and the dinosaurs like HTCosaurus and S4-rex may have had their day.

Which is a bit worrying, because in such existential crises, it is generally the rat-like forms that inherit the earth. Windows Phone may be the future.

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Weird PHP-poking Linux worm slithers into home routers, Internet of Things

Ledswinger
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"Then why bother posting it?...."

It's about time all the single issue loons who besmirch the Reg forums were given the Eadon treatment. The Vogon could be next in the queue.

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Samsung hauls in chiefs for 'CRISIS awareness' confab – report

Ledswinger
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Re: Peak Samsung?

"From what I've seen your better off buying the S3 as it is a lot cheaper and you don't gain much of any use by getting an S4."

Now match that with the launch of the latest Google and Moto products, and you start to see the crisis facing Samsung. If all the loot is made on the top end handsets, and somebody removes the need to buy your fat-margined top end handsets, then suddenly the profitability of the entire mobile handset division disappears. That's what I would call a crisis.

Nokia and landfill android stop Sammy making money from the low end handsets, the Sammy mid range is outshone by the Google/Moto devices at similar price points, and the S4 may be better but can't compete at that price, in which case Samsung have to slice either volume or price and thence margins.

Which I think is what SuccessCase was saying in the posts above at greater length.

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Ledswinger
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Excuse me SuccessCase - all good stuff, but could you be a bit more concise? I'm a rambler and a half when I get going, but you could have published that lot in three volumes.

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BT performs INSOURCERY on outsourced staffers to secure cash savings

Ledswinger
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Re: brain dead boss

"this is a good sign."

Depends how you interpret it. Almost on the same day that npower announce 1,500 poor blighters will get their cards (and their jobs go to India with TCS) and another 500 npower peeps will be TUPE'd into the bowels of Crapita, the movement of around 300 security guards, mail room and reception people between Securitas and BTFS isn't changing the direction of the tide.

Moreover, note that it's low wage jobs that BT are taking back, not the white collar ones that most Reg readers have a direct interest in, and that the UK simply can't afford to keep offshoring. On that point BT are of course notorious for their dismal customer service and rampant offshoring. Don't expect the IT, accounting and call centre jobs to be coming back to the UK too soon.

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OCZ goes titsup, flogs own corpse to Toshiba

Ledswinger
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If they've only fallen by 75% then the shares hold 25% of the value they did beforehand, and given that the shareholders will probably see nothing out of this, I'd suggest the markets have taken this very well (having lost their shirts in the past few years on OCZ anyway).

However, a shame for all those early adopters with OCZ drives, should they be hoping for any support.

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VIOLENT video games make KIDS SMARTER – more violent the BETTER

Ledswinger
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Re: Question:@mrjobby

"I much prefer board games to video games. They cost about the same and I don't need to upgrade my PC when new ones come out!"

You're missing out on half the fun. Nothing like drooling over the latest graphic card performance stats, wondering whether selling the wife would raise the necessary moolah for it (and a pair of ear defenders for when the fans ramp up). The joy of purchase, installation, the free game of "hunt the stable drivers" for any new card. Then running the video test option of your latest game and marvelling at the fabulous framerates (carefully not considering that it looks exactly the same as before). And then there's the need to stick in an SSD to give instant load times, more memory (well, you're inside the case, doesn't make sense not to...).

Having said all that, a mid range Core 2 Duo and a good five year old graphics card will still run most new titles at a stonking rate, with the only exception being for the lucky few with 27 inch monitors and above, or if you're mad enough to try and run at fully otimised, anti-aliased, max detail etc.

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Ledswinger
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"I'm not one for banning anything (with the exception of obviously illegal stuff),"

You'll find that is already banned.....

But otherwise a top post.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Question:@ForthisisNotDead

"The thought of my young child scoring drug deals and murdering prostitutes (Grand Theft Auto) makes me physically shudder."

If you were to allow your children to play age inappropriate games then you'd have only yourself to blame. There's nothing special about computers - you wouldn't let your child go into an "adult" shop, or join a BDSM club in real life. And I presume you already either supervise or filter their internet activity in a manner appropriate to your beliefs and their age? So what's the beef with games?

At some stage as they grow up somebody will offer your kids drugs. Whether they take them will be based in large part upon the moral guidance you've given them, the example you set, the education you give them, not what happened in some crappy long forgotten game. And if they are playing computer games, then join in. Board games used to be a family pursuit, until it was universally realised that the monkier was simply a mis-spelling of "bored". But the decline of board games and the rise of computer games aren't destroying my family. It's one of the few times my two aren't squabbling when they are playing Minecraft together. The older one is allowed to play CSGO, semi-supervised and I often participate in the same game, ensuring that the constant message "this isn't real life" is ingrained.

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Thai man reportedly dies clutching his scorched iPhone 4S

Ledswinger
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Re: It's all about the money

"The downside is Apple will probably change their phones to not charge when plugged in to a non-Apple charger. For safety of its users, not for the extra profit it will make from selling more chargers."

I find it strange that those who happily throw money at Apple (when equivalent quality WP or Android phones are hundreds of quid cheaper) should carp at paying a fairly small sum for a decent safe Apple branded charger. OK, Apple will charge a fat premium, but the cheap and dangerous charger is like buying a Porsche and fitting some completely unheard of make of tyres bought from a bloke on the street corner, rather than premium branded tyres.

If there's an issue with paying Apple's accessory prices, why not invest in a Sammy, Moto,or a Nokia phone where the savings on the phone will free up the money for a drawer full of chargers, and those chargers are cheaper and the OEM premium is less than for Apple kit?

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Judge rules investors can sue Meg Whitman and HP over Autonomy

Ledswinger
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Yay! Directors will be held to account

Except that they won't.

All companies pay for directors'[ and officers' insurance, and short of a criminal investigation and conviction, this won't harm the lightweights on HP's board, won't actually reimburse the shareholders, and will only make a bunch of lawyers rich. Big fines will merely redistribute wealth amongst the shareholders (ie claimants get money taking out of the holdings of all shareholders), and do we expect Teflon Meg and her fellow directors to be tarnished by their own ineptitude? Oh no.

But even if it's a big fine, Meg can just ratchet up the savings target, sack another few tens of thousands of front liners, offer an even crapper service to corporate clients, and help herself to some more options.

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Wait, what's that shuffling from 2013's gloom? It's a bloodied but unbowed HP

Ledswinger
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Results somewhat worse than they appear

Talking of meagre and modest declines is all very well, but that's in nominal terms (ie assumes a dollar in 2012 was the same as in 2013). In fact the global economy grew by around 2-3%, so any analysis needs to factor that in, plus the dilution of the value of the dollar that quantitative easing has caused. Making that inflationary adjustment is a tad tricky because the US (like the UK and others) essentially make up their national statistics to suit the lying cheat thieving 1%ers.

More realistic inflation rates (eg from Shadowstats) are in the range of 5-7%, so even 9% "growth" in accounted revenues is simply standing still once you allow for economic growth. To be fair, these results are better than the previous ones. But I reckon HP's near public sector bureaucracy, failed management, and cost cutting may yet come back to take a further chunk out of HP's arse.

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SILENCE of the OWLS may mean real-life 'Whisper Mode' for Black Helicopters

Ledswinger
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Re: The biggest problem with flying cars

Accept my insincere apologies. I wasn't even aware that the term "mini helicopter" had any officially licensed application.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The biggest problem with flying cars

"At the very least, I'm certain the aerial fatality rate to surface fatality rate would follow the square-cube law if we allowed the common idiot unfettered access to flying cars"

What about the Robinson R22 & R44 mini helicopters, often flogged to the stupid nouveau riche? Surely that's a good analogy for the relationship between road versus air accidents. As I recall, not many people actually killed, just lots and lots of minor take off and landing mishaps caused by pilot error and very few "falling out of the air on unlucky passer by" accidents.

Flying cars are like guns and chainsaws: In civilised countries simply wanting one is reason enough for disqualifying most applicants from owning one.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Owls fly really slow

"Does this mean that the quieting features are high-drag?"

No it means that a quieting feature is flying really slow. I'll wager that a seven tonne chopper doing 140 knots is never going to be in the slightest bit quiet, no matter how many owls are glued to its surface.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Owls are quiet...

"We only need to create owl wing shaped blades for the compressor and turbine and, hey presto, we have a silent jet engine"

Silent apart from the turbulent exhaust flow that makes most of the noise. Maybe these scinetists could examine owl's bottoms, see if the cr@p comes out in a perfect laminar flow, and therefore offers the prospect of truly silent jet engines.

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Schmidt: Social networks will FREE THE PEOPLE of China

Ledswinger
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Can't imprison enough people?

History seems to differ with Schmidt, that totalitarian regimes can indeed imprison (intimidate, beat up, or murder) enough people to keep the proles in order.

Perhaps Serco and G4S could try and monetise opression by offering Opression As A Service (OaaS), which they could represent to shareholoders as international growth markets? Google could muscle in by allowing their all seeing eye systems to either notify the authorities of potential future trouble makers (Minority Report style), or simply flash scary state advertising at any freedom seeking troublemakers.

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Haitian snapper humbles photo giants AFP, Getty Images in $1.2m copyright victory

Ledswinger
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Re: The Economist and juries

" the suggestion to try patent law cases without a jury is not a bad one"

That's what was said when the law was changed to enable fraud cases to be heard without a jury. But the provision is rarely used, and the idea actually reflects the failings of the judiciary in the first place.

The judge (in a jury system) shouldn't decide guilt, he should ensure justice is done, which means ensuring that the case follows the rules, the lawyers behave, the law is explained adequately to the jury, and the case for both defence and prosecution is presented fairly, and then the judge does the sentencing. Unfortunately too many complex trials (as reported) seem to fail on many of those requirements, and my neighbour (managing partner of a criminal defence law firm) assures me that what goes on in court is pure gaming, and has little bearing on the guilt or innocence of the accused. So that says the judges (or their rules) are not up to the job?

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Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

Ledswinger
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Re: SJ did have one thing right

"Microsoft isn't going to go away, but they will never be able to enter the consumer market unless financed by their business unit"

I don't think it is the money at all. - the problem they have is that they don't have a visionary CEO who can see the world through the eyes of customers (or employ somebody who can, and then listen to them). In many ways the article is right about managing change, but the reason that Microsoft messed up is because they wouldn't see the world as the customer sees it, and they wouldn't listen during (eg) the extensive beta testing of either Vista or W8. In both cases the testers flagged up everything that was not to like, and in both cases MS ignored them. And I think that's what SJ did bring - he didn't realy on beta testers because he had a flair for knowing (mostly) what would sell at a good margin, by understanding what people want, often before they could articulate that themselves. I'm no Apple fan, I own none of their products, but I'd argue that under SJ they made great not good products. Microsoft make good not great products, and that's a lack of visionary zeal, and that's why they do need their own Steve Jobs. Not to become an Apple, but to make Microsoft produce great stuff that people want to buy, rather than believing they have to buy it.

At the moment we're still stuck with the old non-listening, good-not-great Microsoft: I have previously railed against Win 8.1, maintaining it should have been a service pack under Windows Update, and bleating on about how I wasn't going to use the Windows app store etc etc. And I owe Microsoft an apology: It automatically came up that 8.1 was available, would I like it, and then downloaded in the background and installed with commendably little fuss. I'm sorry, Microsoft. BUT....8.1 doesn't do enough for those of us who don't like TIFKAM (which I acknowledge works fine for many people). They've begrudgingly added in a start button that doesn't give me cascading menus, so Classic Shell has gone back on. And I'm therefore forced to conclude that they still aren't listening or thinking like customers. How can adding a start button that doesn't do much useful involve a 3.5 Gb download? I'd hope there's a lot more clever stuff been done within that 3.5 Gb, but even taking my hat off that (on a fast broadband connection) it was a completely painless "upgrade", why?

It would be nice to think the new CEO will bring something new, but how many of the candidates are real entrepreneurs, or have produced magical products? They all look big corporate types, who have been paid fat salaries for too long to be driven and hungry. All will come in with restructuring plans, sack thousands, move management around. Will any make great products? I doubt it.

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HEADS UP, text-flinging drivers! A cop in a huge SUV is snooping on you

Ledswinger
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"and just create a single law that says driving while distracted is an offense."

We have just that in the UK, "driving without due care and attention". But prosecutors often struggle to make it stick in court, and as a result the police demand politicians pass specific tangible laws such as making it illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving, in the manner of nice, easy to enforce speed limits, where the test of compliance is simple and easily recorded.

After an accident it may be quite easy to pin a "without due care" charge on somebody, or if they've been videoed doing something stupid, or they 'fess up when the police stop them. But its actually very difficult to prove that somebody has not been paying attention before the event, which is what such a law is intended to address.

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Dell exec tells El Reg: Privatization has fired up 'world's largest startup'

Ledswinger
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Re: hope he is right but

" is a senior and middle management cleanout and re-invigoration needed ?"

Yes. But in volume terms it will be the people at the bottom who suffer most as under-performing business segments get radical surgery. My guess is that sadly the biggest scream over the next few months will be where millions of voices cry out in terror, and are suddenly sacked.

Alright, thousands, not millions, but you get the drift.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Ledswinger
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Re: The problems are:

"1) Chicken & Egg: Employers want experienced staff."

But how many? The article seems to assume that the problem is caused by the wrong people studying Comp Sci, or the wrong education being given to them, with the result all the peachy IT jobs go to graduates from other disciplines, whilst leaving Comp Sci graduates unemployable in any other field.

An alternative reading is that there is simply vast over-supply of Comp Sci graduates relative to the vocational opportunities, meaning there's also more of them chasing non IT careers which I'd guess would lead to higher unemployment levels because the competition is greater.

Perhaps somebody could clarify what is the market? Specifically, how many IT-related graduate jobs are there each year, and how many Comp Sci graduates? How many of the IT related jobs go to non-Comp Sci grads?

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